Home is not at all sweet for the Rams at present as a season which had much promise now starts to slip away in to mid-table disappointment.

Harry Williams Riverside Stadium
Saturday 25 March 2017
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One North
Attendance: 299

Any team can have a bad run of form but there is more than a slight sense of a much deeper malaise with the experienced core of the team disappearing and performances such as this one against Trafford lacking passion, drive and desire.  On Saturday they were heartless and gutless.  Trafford had barely to break sweat to claim a comfortable win.

Other than from the odd dead ball kick in the first half, the Rams forwards, deprived of any kind of service, were unable to get in the box.  To be fair the Rams came close twice in the first half from well directed Grant Spencer free kicks met by powerful headers first by Brad Roscoe which skimmed off the top of the bar and the second from Luke Thompson which Terry Smith did well to divert over the bar.  But in terms of excitement that was just about it.

Trafford hardly needed to raise their game to seize control.  In two pending minutes of the second half only a wonder save by Martin Fearon turning over a point blank volley from inside the six-yard box kept the scores level.  This only delayed the inevitable and on the hour Trafford went in front – Luke Horrocks spinning sharply on the edge of the box and sending a swerving shot beyond Fearon and into the net off the inside of the post.

Six minutes later Fearon received a red card in somewhat bizarre circumstances.  Meeting a high through ball with no Trafford player in touching distance he led with a high leg in a fashion which those of us who watched the game in the last quarter of the 20th century and before will be quite familiar with.  Now though it seems it is an automatic penalty and red card offence.  The logic in that is not difficult to see but really there should be an element of danger to an opposing player – which on this occasion there was not.  The jobsworth referee, no doubt with a glance over his shoulder for the presence of an assessor, immediately sent Fearon off.  Ashley Woods sent the penalty past stand in keeper Dean Stott.

Trafford could have gone for the jugular but instead decided to pass ten ball around midfield – although Stott did very well to push a low shot round the post.  Long before the final whistle the disgruntled home fans were beginning to count the days and games to the end of the season but consoling themselves that it could be worse – they could have spent the afternoon at Boston.

Ramsbottom United: Martin Fearon, Mark McKay, Tom Murphy, Dean Stott (capt), Luke Thompson, Bradley Roscoe, Grant Spencer, Kevin Monteiro, Ryan Salmon, Lee Gaskell, Darrhyl Mason.  Subs: Max Hazeldine (for Salmon 62mins), Damian Green (for Murphy 84mins), Paul Linwood, Oliver Crankshaw, Adam Kay (for Monteiro 62mins).

Trafford: Terry Smith, Liam Brownhill, Lee Neville, Anthony Griffith, Ryan Ellison, Josh Granite (capt), Alastair Brown, Luke Horrocks, Ashley Woods, Andrew Keogh, Greg Daniels.  Subs: Alex Frost, Kingsley Williams, Mark Derbyshire (for Horrocks 84mins), Aaron Burns (for Woods 78mins), Andrew Langford (for Daniels 70mins).

Referee: Jack Nield (Northwich)

PICTURES from the GAME (courtesy of Frank Crook)

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